There is a world beyond ours, a world that is far away, nearby,
and invisible…a world where everything has already happened
and everything is known. That world talks. It has a language of its own.
I report what it says.
-- María Sabina, Mazatec Shaman
The metaphysics of one era is the science of the next.
-- Max Born, Nobel Prize, Physics
I've been a psychotherapist for nearly 28 years. From my earliest days in the field, I've seen the best minds and most caring hearts in the therapeutic world put forth insightful interpretations of human experience while simultaneously and inevitably circumscribing it. I've been an astrological consultant for 40 years, and similarly, from the beginning, saw that the patterns of meaning shown in astrological symbolism were infinitely richer, more textured and layered, than either astrology's proponents or opponents would allow.
Early on as an astrologer I was able to uncover in a natal chart issues and material that both the client and myself agreed would warrant further exploration in a therapeutic setting. At the time I knew I wasn't qualified to offer counsel beyond a certain point, so I would refer my clients to therapists I believed would be able to help them. After doing this for about five years, I was convinced that astrological insight employed in a therapeutic context would provide a new dimension of understanding that neither field could offer on its own; finding a way to blend the two seemed the wave of the future in exploring the many layers of the human psyche, the dilemma of being human. I returned to graduate school in the mid-'70s and began to examine the ways in which that blending might eventually come about.
When I finally entered private practice as a therapist I kept my therapeutic work and my astrological work quite separate from one another-I still do when that's most appropriate for the client. As time went on, though, I learned that while I could keep the two perspectives overtly separate, I could also weave them together quite seamlessly and appropriately on either "side" of the consulting room. And my deeper sense of what astrology could offer to psychology pressed on me with an inevitability that remains impossible to describe. Building a stronger bridge between them-between experience and meaning-seemed an essential next answer to the ongoing question, "How, then, shall we live?"
As I progressed in the work over the years, my internal focus gradually shifted quite beyond a desire to help people make a "better adjustment" in, and to, their lives. More and more I found myself holding a great reverence for their uniqueness, their particular journey-like-no-other, and the specific ways they found to negotiate the open road that is a lifetime. Under this always was-is-an awareness that there's much more to us than what our heredity and early environment have dictated and that the soul is infused with a knowledgeable intention to evolve.
In my own life I'd looked back many times and marveled at how, for better and worse, it had unfolded in a particular way: how I met this person, "ended up" there; how others' choices had blended or collided with my own in powerful consequence; how a series of events-like moves on a cosmic chess board-had "placed" me in one corner instead of another; how a moment, a glance, a phone call, a sentence, a "yes" or "no," the seating at a table, a decision to turn around or keep walking, had turned a life, whether mine or someone else's, in a different direction. Or perhaps turned it in the direction it had been meant to go from the very beginning.
None of this is unique to my life, and I've observed and pondered the trajectory crossings in the lives of clients and friends and public figures for years. Sometimes the magic that we recognize as synchronicity, or "meaningful coincidence," is obvious, noteworthy, and noted; but that's not the specific focus of my work. I'm more concerned with the deeper pattern that is
always at work in our lives; with the "necessary coincidences" that manifest that pattern; and with how we can learn to talk to ourselves more consciously about the larger meaning woven into all of our experiences.
In his travels over the course of a remarkable life, the Greek writer and spiritual seeker Nikos Kazantzakis developed a wonderful perspective on our human existence. He saw every person as a one-of-a-kind, unrepeatable piece of the whole spirit of God. Therefore, he concluded, we should each think of ourselves as solely responsible for the salvation of the world, since, when one of us dies, the particular play of our unique being, of our particular heart-mind-and what it
could do for humanity-is lost to the world forever.
Our sacred task in this life, then, as Kazantzakis saw it, is to plunge far enough into our own souls-i.e., to reflect on and become increasingly conscious of our purpose, our life path, in the world-to find and free the "endangered spirit of God" inside ourselves. Otherwise, the contribution we came here to make remains undeveloped, and the world is ever the less for that. Taken in sum, the world and God simply can't afford such losses to be repeated endlessly. What Kazantzakis didn't factor in was how long it would take-how many lifetimes-for us to become conscious of much of anything.
Everyone else we will ever encounter has the same sacred task, regardless of his or her outer circumstances, and regardless of the roles we seem to be playing in one another's lives. So it is not difficult to imagine that if we humans could learn to approach one another from this perspective, we would reach very different levels of relationship and understanding in a world sorely in need of improvement in both areas.
You might consider Kazantzakis's perspective the spiritual or philosophical precursor to the Hundredth Monkey Phenomenon. Most of us would probably wish to find-or be-the Hundredth Monkey that will now signal the shift in consciousness on this planet drastically and for the better. But there can be no Hundredth Monkey without a First or a Thirty-seventh, or a Ninety-fourth one. And none of us can "be" any of those numbers until we
consciously take our place on the earth, understand the unfolding patterns of our lives, and do what we are each here to do.
In sundry life circumstances I've kicked and screamed and hurled a loud "Why this? Why now? Why me?" into the indifferent air. I've also been blessed on certain occasions to know, in every cell of my being, why this, now, and me. In those moments it didn't matter if I was the third monkey or the ninety-ninth, since I was exactly where I was meant to be.
Three times in this life so far I have been graced to understand that absolutely everything that had ever happened to me was for the sole purpose of "delivering" my soul to a particular experience in a precise location at an exact moment. One such delivery was made in Los Angeles in 1968, the second took place in Greece in 1985, and the third in January 1990, the latter being the most powerful summation-a forty-minute encounter in a remote, dusty, abandoned sanctuary on the outskirts of Memphis, Egypt-when everything I had ever been through from the moment of my birth came together and made sense on the spot. Everything.
We have many psycho-spiritual models available to help interpret and give meaning to the "necessary coincidences" in our lives. Like Kazantzakis, I am a heretic; the word is from the Greek
(eretikos) meaning "able to choose." I don't proffer anything on this website or in my work in an effort to convince you of the validity of one model over another. Such efforts have brought humankind to much grief, and I, for one, hold that the end of rigid religious and quasi-philosophical posturing cannot come soon enough. All models are right, none of them are complete, and as Michael Lerner has wisely observed, "The God you don't believe in doesn't exist for you."
What I offer is a perspective. The word is from the Latin meaning "seen through." In all the dictionary definitions of perspective, from architectural to philosophical, there is the implication of a viewpoint, a vantage point, the specific "how" and "where" of one's position when looking at something; and, after we are in a position, the faculty of seeing all the relevant data in a meaningful relationship. There's an old tenet of psychology that says we can't really solve a problem on the level at which it was created-i.e., we have to get some time and/or distance from it in order to have a
way of seeing it. We need a different perspective. Otherwise, we'll keep doing what we're doing, and we'll keep getting what we've got.
So, the meaning and connections in our lives usually can't be seen smack in the middle of an experience. But we can learn to see those meanings and connections more immediately. Indeed, I believe we urgently need to become fluent in the language of meaning and connection in order to find and free the endangered spirit of God within our personal and collective lives. This is quite possibly the next stage of our evolution. Note the first four letters of that last word. Spell them in reverse.
Instead of a model, then, I offer you a metaphor. I'm a traveler by nature, and the metaphor of this life as a journey has always made perfect sense to me. Thirty years ago when I first heard the Moody Blues sing "Eternity Road," that seemed an apt designation for The Path we're all on, and I've been exploring and seeking to understand the length, breadth, depth, and vicissitudes of both journey and road ever since.
My friend and colleague Steven Forrest describes the time we spend on earth as an "evolutionary predicament," wherein there is a whole set of experiences that will work to move us along our soul's way, that will help us wake up and make certain necessary changes in our energy/essence in a given lifetime. It is, he notes, as if God says: "Immerse yourself in this, and see what happens. I will fill you with an attraction for the kinds of people and situations that will prove to be most instructive to you." In Kazantzakis's terms, this would speak to the ways in which we can increasingly and progressively do our part to free the endangered spirit of God.
Thus, I could imagine a scene common to everyone; it takes place, say, about an hour before we incarnate into each of our particular lifetimes. Perhaps you can picture yourself in it:
You are in a small, simply appointed room. The Great Collator of Purposes, a.k.a. God or The Holy One, a.k.a. your Abiding Angel, stands beside you at an enormous oak table that looks to have been carved at the beginning of time. Spread across the surface of that table is a large document, some sort of map, hand-drawn on old parchment. Way up in one corner of the map is a wide open area. Arrival there, you are given to understand, will mean that you have reached your destination in the life that is just ahead of you.
Looking more closely you can see that your map for this life journey is quite detailed, surprisingly intricate. There is much terrain to cover, one sort of continental mass here, a body of water, and perhaps an island, there. There are straight roads, bent roads, forked roads, rivers, valleys, mountains, forests, more than a couple of deserts. You will not be told how to navigate any of them, only that you must-even if that means avoiding some altogether. There are small squares and triangles and circles to mark lodging, weigh stations, rest stops, information centers, prisons and holy ground.
In all these places, there are also small, distinct symbols to represent the people whom you will encounter-some are clearly designated to ease your journey, some to make it excruciatingly difficult; some to bring you gifts, some to wake you up; some will be there with painful obstructions they must throw onto your path, and some will wait with remarkable increments of grace.
Certain of these people will be quite recognizable; others will be well-disguised. All will have their own maps and contracts, their own life trajectories, too; but there are specific points at which their trajectories will cross yours-because they must, because everyone is on the search for the same thing.
At each of those crossings on the map, you notice an odd little mark-it looks rather like a lightning bolt fanning out in the shape of an "A." It is the symbol for
(Anangke), the Goddess of Necessity, the inescapable What-Must-Be. The choices that you make whenever you come upon this mark-this goddess-will write the broader narrative of your life. You will, slowly but surely, need to understand that she is standing in exactly the right place wherever you encounter her.
Across the centuries, the millennia, you have embarked on many of these journeys. You have your own unique evolutionary predicaments, yes, and so for every journey you've drawn a very different map. However, the ultimate destination, the larger purpose, has never changed. You are on your way Home.
But, for now, you will be going to earth to, in Kazantzakis's view, get conscious, to wake up, to find-and free-the endangered spirit of God. Every time you wake up a bit more, a piece of the God-in-you and the you-in-God becomes that much more available on the earth, to the earth. You can even, if you wish, imagine yourself being "sent" there-and agreeing to go-as an integral part of the healing of the world's soul. Hence, this document you are studying prior to departure is part map, part instruction manual, part contract.
I'm just one traveler on this particular time-stretch of Eternity Road. Well into the middle years of my journey now, I find myself in the global equivalent of Dante's "dark wood"-a world trance-fixed by televised vision and ruled by virtual corporations, Dow-Jones and NASDAQ hiccups, cyber-reality, terrorist threats, environmental deterioration, genetically modified life-forms, political chicanery, the world-wide shifting of populations, and a global census tilted past the six billion mark.
Credentialed analysts, concerned futurists, obsessed pollsters rise out of the cacophony, purport to map out where we're going, and attempt to tell us all what "it" will be like when we get there. Nearly all their conclusions and solutions round our little lives with relative irrelevance and often render us inattentive to much of anything inside us, be that "God's" endangered spirit or our own.
Yet in the midst of all of it I see the hunger for meaning gnawing more and more at our personal and collective innards. Questions such as "What
am I doing here?" and "What does my soul want of me?" make themselves heard in the night and cannot be answered-or quelled-by having more and better toys, surfing the net, or finding a new and improved, but thinly-disguised orthodoxy.
I suspect that the aforementioned dark wood was clearly designated as Anangke's turf on all of our maps prior to this lifetime.
How each and all of us progressively imagine, feel, and make our way through it
with one another is perhaps more critical to the future of life on this planet than we can grasp at this time. The meaning we give to our myriad encounters-the ways in which we now help one another understand, develop compassion, forgive, release, embrace, go beyond, or return to the experiences we must have in this life-is perhaps the most crucial evolutionary leap we can take.
Anangke's mark is everywhere in our lives, though
not recognizing her at a given time is surely part of the Divine Blueprint. We'll never know what would have been different if she had presented herself undisguised on one occasion or another and said, "Stay alert, because what you experience here, this person with whom you're spending the next five minutes, is not only critical to your soul's development, but also-and mark this-critical to your doing your tiny, essential part for the salvation of the world." I do know that my life's work is to envision and learn to love her presence at every conceivable place along the road, to make the journey as consciously as I can from here on out-and to assist others in doing the same. This is, at best, a most complex undertaking.
Again and again I've had to learn the wisdom in George Whitman's guiding principle for his famous Shakespeare & Co. Bookstore in Paris: "Be not inhospitable to strangers, lest they be angels in disguise." And I can only imagine what it would be like if we dealt with all our fellow travelers as though every one of them has some gift to offer, some sacred task, and the same destination, no matter how random, troubled, important, "insignificant," or compellingly different from our own their particular journeys
appear to be.
When I was a young woman beginning to see myself on a journey with some kind of destination in this life, the world seemed simultaneously to be tearing itself apart and beginning to imagine both a different path and a different destination for itself as well. As I was putting my thoughts together for this introduction, the refrain to a song by a very popular folk trio from that time made its way across the years and back to me. The words now seem more relevant, more poignant, and more prophetically urgent than ever:
Take your place on The Great Mandala
As it moves through your brief moment of time
Win or lose now
You must choose now…*
I write and work in the hope that I can encourage you to look more thought-fully at where you've been, to consider where Anangke might be taking you, and to see the magic, the love, the necessity, the forgiveness, and the eruptions of grace everywhere along your way.
*from "The Great Mandala" by Peter Yarrow from "Album 1700" by Peter, Paul & Mary
[The foregoing has been adapted from the first chapter of "Traveling Eternity Road," a book-in-progress.]
In my therapeutic practice I've worked extensively with individuals, couples, and businesses in various transitional and psycho-spiritual stages of the life cycle. In addition, I've done individual, group, and couples psychotherapy with adults recovering from a wide range of addictions and dysfunctionally patterned backgrounds, including: adults from alcoholic and/or addicted families of origin; survivors of childhood physical and sexual abuse; adults recovering from varying degrees of trauma related to early religious training. I view and treat all forms of addiction, and recovery from it, in a very pragmatic way, but at the same time I see addictions in their myriad forms as metaphors for the deeper yearning for transcendence that exists in everyone. I've been blessed to have extensive training in systems theory and its application to the family and other human systems, with an emphasis on the multi-generational transmission process.
In addition to systems analysis and traditional therapeutic methods, I use a variety of approaches ranging from visual imagery and the understanding of dreams to an exploration, via astrological symbolism, of the myths and archetypal structures which lie beneath the surface of the individual life and contemporary culture. I integrate an understanding and hands-on use of Feng Shui principles into treatment when appropriate.
Strictly speaking the personal horoscope serves as a clinical and diagnostic (as opposed to predictive) instrument through which to: explore natural personality and karmic patterns; become conscious of major gifts and challenges; investigate parental introjects (back through two prior generations) and experiences with the family of origin. Using the horoscope, it's possible to look at the psychological complexes (and their archetypal content) that are showing up in current behavior as well as to understand the nature and duration of a crisis being precipitated by the soul's drive toward healing and evolution.
In an ongoing therapeutic setting, my goal is to provide a spiritual context and language for the exploration of personal issues - i.e. to examine their possible meaning as well as the process by which they seem to be unfolding.
In the setting of a one-time astrological reading, my goal is to provide psychological understanding as well as an evolutionary, spiritual context for the exploration of your individual soul's life pattern.
I provide astrological consultations for clients of other psychotherapists, psychiatrists, social workers, and others in the helping professions.
I offer separate Feng Shui consultations and lectures in various public and private contexts.
I offer lectures and workshops on various topics.
I'm also a free-lance writer and editor.
I earned a B.A. in English and Speech from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1968, and I have a Master's Degree in Marriage, Family, and Child Therapy from Phillips Graduate Institute (formerly the California Family Study Center), 1979.
I did a clinical internship in Marriage, Family, and Child Therapy at Phillips Graduate Institute (formerly California Family Study Center) from 1979-81. This involved a multidisciplinary approach emphasizing systems theory as well as psychodynamics; the curriculum stressed assessment, diagnosis, treatment, cross-cultural and multigenerational approaches, and ethical issues.
I did a clinical internship in Transactional Analysis and Gestalt Therapy with Richard G. Abell, M.D., New York, NY, 1977-79. The focus was on integrating the two modalities and applying them to treatment.
Other in-service training has involved various modalities with an emphasis on Depth Psychology. My astrological training comes from a wide range of teachers, with particular emphasis on the theories and work of the late Richard Idemon, the late Tony Joseph, Jungian analyst Liz Greene, and evolutionary astrologer Steven Forrest.
Feng Shui training is at the Western School of Feng Shui in Solana Beach, CA, with Terah Kathryn Collins and Becky
Astrologer, private practice, 1968-present.
Psychotherapist, private practice, 1981-present
(Licensed Marriage, Family, and Child Therapist in California)
Feng Shui Consultant and Practitioner, 2001-present
Columnist for Santa Fe newspaper New World News (formerly The World Times). Column ("Notes from Angel City") examined current socio-political and environmental issues from a contemporary psychological, systemic, and spiritual perspective, 1994-1997.
Jury Selection Consultant, civil court trials, 1993-1996.
Columnist for New York newspaper Connections. Monthly column ("Letters from the Coast") similar to the aforementioned, 1991-1992.
Columnist for Massachusetts newspaper New Visions. Quarterly column examining the archetypal dimensions of current events in terms of astrological symbolism, 1988-1990.
Consulting Therapist for DeSisto Schools, Stockbridge, MA, and Howey-in-the-Hills, FL., 1987-88. Used traditional as well astrological assessment tools exploring individual and family dynamics while providing therapy for troubled adolescents and their families in various residential treatment settings; individual sessions, group sessions, multigenerational group family therapy weekends, and team therapy.